Accessible Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter March 14, 2019

An early Byzantine Pseudepigraphon: the Apocryphal Acta Barnabae

Francis Cairns
From the journal Byzantinische Zeitschrift


This paper treats the fifth-century AD apocryphal Acta Barnabae (= ABarn). § I sets out briefly the consensus view of ABarn’s main aim - to establish the autocephaly of the Cypriot Church by endowing it with an apostolic founder, Barnabas, in a text modelled on Acts which affects to be contemporary with Acts and to be the work of John Mark. § II examines ABarn’s detailed interactions with Acts, its foregrounding of Barnabas over Paul, and its centralising of Cyprus in early Christianity; ‘itinerary style’ is highlighted as a prominent feature of ABarn’s striving for verisimilitude. § III treats ABarn’s use of further ‘novelistic’ strategies for the same purpose; they mostly draw on topoi, but sometimes arguably on personal knowledge of Cyprus. § IV reflects on ABarn’s curious downgrading of its inscribed author, John Mark. This is attributed to the anti-Monophysite stance of the fifth-century (Orthodox) Cypriot Church towards both the Antiochene and Alexandrian Patriarchates.

Published Online: 2019-03-14
Published in Print: 2019-02-01

© 2019 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston